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Surah An-Nazi‘at: 79 :1 - 46 


692 


Surah An-Nazi‘at 

(Those Who Pull Out) 

This Surah is MakkI, and it has 46 verses and 2 sections 

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With the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful 


Verses 1 - 46 


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Surah An-Nazi‘at: 79 : 1 - 46 


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I swear by those (angels) who pull out (the souls of the 
infidels) vigorously [1] and by those (angels) who untie 
the knot (of the souls of the believers) smoothly, [2] and 
by those who float (in the atmosphere) swiftly, [3] then 
proceed forward quickly, [4] then manage (to do) 
everything (they are ordered to do,) [5] (you will be 
resurrected) on the Day when the shocking event (i.e. 
the first blowing of the trumpet) will shock 
(everything), [6] followed by the next one (i.e. the second 
blowing of the trumpet.) [7] Hearts, on that Day, will be 
throbbing, [8] (and) their eyes will be downcast. [9] 


They say, ’’Are we going to be brought back to our 
former state (of Life)? [10] Is it when we will have 
turned into decayed bones?" [11] They say, "If so, that 
will be a harmful return." [12] So, it will be only a single 
harsh voice, [13] and in no time they will be (brought) in 
the plain (of hashr ). [14] 


Has there come to you the narrative of Musa? [15] 
(Recall) when his Lord called to him in the blessed 
valley of Tuwa: [16] "Go to Fir'aun (the Pharaoh). Indeed, 
he has crossed all bounds (in making mischief). [17] And 
say (to him,) ’Would you like to purify yourself, [18] and 
that I guide you to your Lord, so that you fear (Him)?" 
[19] So he showed him the biggest sign. [20] But he 
rejected and disobeyed, [21] then he turned back, and 




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tried hard (to refute the Messenger), [22] then he 
gathered (his people) and shouted [23] and said, "I am 
the supreme lord of yours." [24] So, Allah seized him for 
the deterrent punishment in the Hereafter and the 
present world. [25] Indeed, there is a lesson for him who 
fears (Allah). [26] 

Are you more difficult to be created or the sky? He has 
built it, [27] He has raised its height, then made it 
proper, [28] and darkened its night, and brought forth 
its daylight, [29] and, after that, He spread out the 
earth. [30] From it, He brought out its water and its 
meadows, [31] and firmly fixed the mountains, [32] (all 
this) as a benefit to you and your cattle. [33] So when 
the Biggest Havoc will come [34] on the day when man 
will recall what he did, [35] and the Hell will be exposed 
for all who see, [36] then for the one who had rebelled, 

[37] and preferred the worldly life (to the Hereafter), [38] 
the Hell will be the abode, [39] whereas for the one who 
feared to stand before his Lord, and restrained his self 
from the (evil) desire, [40] the Paradise will be the 
abode. [41] 

They ask you about the Hour (the Day of Judgment) as 
to when it will take place. [42] In which capacity are 
you to tell this? [43] With your Lord is the final word 
about it. [44] You are only a warner for anyone who 
fears it. [45] The day they will see it, it will seem to 
them as if they did not live (in the world), but only for 
one afternoon or for the morning thereof. [46] 

Commentary 

X*j* (I swear by those [angels] who pull out [the souls of the 

infidels] vigorously ...79:1). The word nazVat is derived from naz and it 
means 'to draw vigorously'. The word gharqan is its corroborative because 
the word gharq is used here in the sense of ighraq and means 'to exert 
oneself much or to the utmost extent in the thing'. The Arabic idiom has it 
yi j/4 'He drew the bow with great vigour'. The Surah begins 
with an oath by certain characteristics of the angels to affirm that the 
Resurrection is a certainty. The subject of the oath, however, has been 
contextually deleted. The oath of the angels is probably apt on this 
occasion because they are all the time involved in the administration and 
running of the world. They are executing their duties loyally. On the Day 
of Judgement, all material causes will be severed. Unusual events will 




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occur and the angels will be involved in them. 

Five characteristics of the angels are mentioned which are concerned 
with or related to the extraction of the soul at the time of death. The 
purport of the verses is to affirm that Resurrection is a certainty. It starts 
with human death. Every man's death is his partial Day of Doom, and 
this has an important impact on his belief in Resurrection. The five 
qualities are as follows: 

The first quality of the angels: 

& 2 * i 

I swear by those (angels) who pull out (the souls of the 
infidels) vigorously. 

This refers to the angels of punishment who draw the souls of the 
infidels vigorously and harshly. The words 'vigorously' refer to spiritual 
pain. The humans around the dying person may not be sensitive to the 
pain. Often it is noticed that the soul of an infidel apparently slips out 
easily, but this ease is perceived by humans around the dying man. The 
pain is felt by the soul of the dying person. Who can perceive it? We are 
aware of it only because Allah has informed us about it in this verse. 

The second quality of the angels : 

iLL cJLzJij (and by those [angels] who untie the knot [of the souls of 
the believers] smoothly, [2]' The word nashitat is derived from nasht and 
it means 'to untie the knot'. This signifies 'to untie the knot of something 
which contains water or air, so that it may be released easily'. This is 
metaphor for drawing out the souls of the believers gently, unlike the 
souls of the infidels which are plucked out harshly. In this case too the 
adverb 'smoothly' refers to the spiritual smoothness, and not to the 
physical experience. Sometimes, it happens that there is a delay at the 
time of death of a righteous believer. This may not be suspected to mean 
that he is undergoing some sort of suffering, although physically it may 
seem so. When the soul of an infidel is extracted, the entire scene of the 
punishment of barzahk comes in front of him. It is frightened by it, 
disperses throughout the body and tries to hide or escape. The angels 
forcefully extract the soul just as wet wool wrapped around a skewer is 
forcefully removed. When the soul of a believer is extracted, on the other 
hand, the reward, the blessings and the welcome news of the barzahk 


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come in front of him. 

The third quality of the angels : 

(and by those who float [in the atmosphere] swiftly...79:3). 
The word sabh literally means to 'swim' or 'float'. Here it signifies 'to glide 
along swiftly as in the sea where there is no mountain barrier'. The one 
who swims fast and goes far in swimming or a boatman who moves 
directly towards his final destination. The 'angels who float swiftly' refer 
to the quality of the angels of death who extract human souls and take 
them quickly towards the sky. 

The fourth quality of the angels : 

liL. cilili (then proceed forward quickly...79:4). According to Divine 
instruction, the angels do not delay in transporting the souls of people to 
their good or their bad abodes. The soul of a believer is transported to the 
atmosphere and blessings of Paradise, and that of an unbeliever to the 
atmosphere and torment of Hell. 

The fifth quality of the angels : 

\*JA (then manage [to do] everything [they are ordered to 

do,]... 79:5). In other words, the last task of these angels of death will be as 
follows: Those who are commanded to reward and comfort the deserving 
souls, will gather means of reward and comfort for them; and those who 
are commanded to punish and cause pain to [the evil souls] will organise 
means for that. 

Reward and Punishment in the Grave 

The Surah thus far confirms that at the time of death, the angels will 
arrive and extract human souls. Then they will take them to the sky and 
swiftly transport them to their abodes, the good souls to the good abode 
and the bad souls to the bad one. There they will organise means of 
reward or punishment and pain or comfort for them. The verses show that 
the reward and punishment will take place in the grave or barzakh. 
Thereafter the reward and punishment will be meted out on the Day of 
Judgement. Authentic Traditions give elaborate details of this. There is a 
lengthy Tradition of Sayyidna Bara’ Ibn ‘Azib 4^ib cited in Mishkat-ul- 
Masabih with reference to Musnad of Ahmad. 



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Nafs [Self] Ruh [Spirit - Soul]: Qadi Thana’ullah's Research and 
Analysis 

The readers are referred to a special research and analysis by the 
Baihaqi of his time, Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati, that was presented in this 
book under verse [29] of Surah Hijr. Here the learned commentator has 
added some more details which dispose of many doubts which arise from 
the above Tradition: The human soul is a refined body which permeates 
the dense material body. The [ancient] doctors and philosophers called it 
as ruh or soul. But the real spirit is an abstract substance and a subtle 
divine creature connected in a special way with this physical soul or nafs, 
the life of which is dependent on the Divine Spirit. The pure, abstract and 
non-material spirit is the life of the first soul on which depends the life of 
the body, and therefore it is called the 'soul of soul'. The real nature of the 
connection between these two kinds of soul is not known to anyone. It is 
known to Allah alone. Perhaps an illustration would clarify the matter. If 
we were to hold a mirror against the sun, then, despite that the sun is 
149.6 million kilometres away from the earth, its reflection comes into the 
mirror. And because of the light, that too starts glowing like the sun. The 
same thing applies to the human soul. If it exerts itself in spiritual 
struggle and ascetic discipline in keeping with the teachings of [Divine] 
revelation, he will be enlightened. Otherwise he would be polluted with 
the bad effects of the physical body. This is the refined bodily soul that 
the angels transport to the heaven and transport him back with honours 
if he is enlightened. Otherwise the doors of the heaven are not opened for 
him and is thrown down from top. This is the refined bodily soul, the 
Tradition notes, which Allah created from dust and to it He will return 
him and from it. He resurrect him. It is this refined bodily soul that gets 
enlightened and becomes fragrant. But the same body can stink because 
of [the filth of] disbelief and idolatrous practices. The 'abstract spirit' is 
connected with the dense body through the refined bodily soul. The 
abstract spirit never dies. The reward or punishment of grave is 
experienced by the refined bodily soul which keeps connected with the 
grave whereas the abstract spirit remains in ‘illiyyun, and it feels the 
effects of reward and punishment indirectly. Thus the statement that 'the 
soul is in the grave' is true in the sense that 'soul' in this context refers to 
the bodily soul. The statement that 'the soul is in ‘Alam-ul-arwah or 
‘illiyyun' is also true, because the 'soul' in this context refers to ruh 



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mujarrad or 'abstract spirit 1 . Thus it is possible to reconcile the apparently 
conflicting statements. 

(UliU (and in no time they will be [brought] in the plain [of 
hashr]... 79:14). The word sdhirah refers to 'the surface of the earth'. 
When the earth will be re-created at Resurrection, it will be a completely 
level surface. There will be no mountain barriers, no buildings or caves. 
This is referred to as 'sdhirah'. 


The Holy Prophet iHt used to be hurt by the stubbornness of the 
obdurate rejecters of Resurrection. The next verses recount the story of 
Musa and Fir'aun to console him, and to show that the adverse 
attitude of the pagans is not confined to him. The previous prophets have 
also faced similar situations, but they endured them with patience. The 
Holy Prophet Ȥt too should exercise patience and fortitude. 


At (So, Allah seized him for the deterrent 


punishment in the Hereafter and the present world. ...79:25). The word 
nakal means an 'exemplary punishment' or 'an extremely severe 
punishment given to an offender to deter others against committing a 
similar offence or sin'. The phrase 'punishment of the 'akhirah' refers to 
the punishment of the Hereafter that will be meted out to Fir'aun (the 
Pharaoh). The phrase 'punishment of the ’ula’ refers to the punishment 
meted out to Fir'aun (the Pharaoh) and his army in this world whereby 
they were destroyed by drowning. 


Further, the Qur’an again disposes of the doubt of the rejecters of 
resurrection who pose the question: "Are we going to be brought back to 
our former state (of life)? Is it when we will have turned into decayed 
bones?" [10-11] In other words, this is a negative rhetorical question. They 
purport to say that it is not possible for them to be restored to life after 
death when they have become perished and worm-eaten bones. Allah 
responds that the Supreme Creator, Who drew out this universe without 
any pre-existing matter and without any instrument, certainly has the 
Supreme power to give existence to things after destroying them. Why 
should it be a surprise? 


In the verses that follow, the horrors of the Day of Judgement are 
depicted. It is mentioned that on that Day, every person will be presented 
with his deeds. Described also are the abodes of the inmates of Paradise 




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and Hell. Towards the end, special traits of the people of Paradise and 
those of Hell are portrayed by which a man can decide in this very world 
whether, according to the rules, his abode would be Paradise or Hell. The 
expression 'according to the rules' has been used because many verses 
and narratives indicate that there could be 'exceptions to the rules'. For 
example, a person might attain freedom from Hell and enter Paradise by 
virtue of intercession or directly through the grace of Allah. This is an 
exception to the rule. The general rule is the same as has been mentioned 
in these verses. 

First, the special marks of the inmates of Hell are described. They 
have two characteristics: 

\jiit S 'jSe ‘Ja iTu (then for the one who had rebelled, and 
preferred the worldly life [to the Hereafter]...79:38). In other words, [1] 
instead of remaining loyal to Allah and His Messenger and following their 
commands, they adopt the line of rejection and rebellion; and [2] prefer 
the life of this world to that of the Hereafter. In other words, if he were to 
do a deed that gives comfort and pleasure in this world but punishment in 
the Hereafter, he would prefer the comforts and pleasure of this life to the 
pleasure of the next life. Those who are characterised by these two 
qualities the Blazing Fire, that is Hell, will be their abode, thus: oi* 

(the Hell will be the abode.. .79:39). 

Thereafter, the special marks of the inmates of Paradise are described. 
They too have two characteristics: 

Ji Js- J-iJl &\j (whereas for the one who feared to 

stand before his Lord, and restrained his self from the [evil] desire, 79:40). 
In other words, [1] the first characteristic of a God-fearing person is that, 
in this life, he shudders at the thought of appearing before Allah to 
account for his deeds on the Day of Reckoning; and [2] forbids the baser 
self from its evil desires. Those who are characterised by these two 
qualities have the good news that the Paradise will be their abode, thus: 
^ (the Paradise will be the abode....79:41) 

Three Levels of Suppressing [the Base] Self 

The verse under comment lays down two conditions of attaining the 
abode in Paradise, but carefully considered, the two conditions, in terms of 
consequence, are one. The first condition is the fear of accountability in 




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the presence of Allah. The second condition is to restrain oneself from the 
evil desires. As a matter of fact, fear of Allah causes one to restrain oneself 
from evil desires. Qadi Thana’ullah Panipati has written in his Tafsir 
Mazhari that there are three levels of suppressing evil desires, as follows: 

The first level is that one avoids false beliefs which are in conflict or 
incompatible with express texts [of the Holy Qur’an and established 
Sunnah] and consensus of [the righteous] predecessors. In this level, a 
person deserves to be called 'SunniMuslim 1 . 

The second level is the middle one. A person, in this stage, may think 
of committing sin. Then he may remember that he has to account for his 
deeds before Allah [on the Day of Reckoning]. As a result, he abandons 
the thought of committing sin. The complement to this level is that one 
abstains from doubtful things and those acts that are permissible in 
themselves, but there is apprehension that if committed, they may lead 
one to slip into impermissible acts. Sayyidna Nu‘man Ibn Bashir 
narrates that the Holy Prophet gf said: "He who abstained from doubtful 
things has protected his honour and religion. He who indulged in 
doubtful things will eventually indulge in forbidden things." The 
expression 'doubtful things' signifies those acts about which one is not 
certain whether they are permissible or not, both possibilities being equal. 
Let us consider a few examples: if a person is ill and can take [wet] 
ablution, but he is not sure whether taking [wet] ablution in this state 
would be harmful. Thus the permissibility of dry ablution ( tayammum ) 
becomes doubtful. Likewise a person is able to perform prayers in a 
standing position, but feels great difficulty. He is now in doubt whether or 
not it is permissible for him to perform prayers in a sitting position. On 
such occasions, one should abandon the doubtful thing or act, and prefer 
what is definitely certain. This is taqwa and the middle course of 
suppressing the selfish desires. 

Tricks of the Base Self 

There are acts whose sinful nature is obvious to every one. The selfish 
desires prompting to such sinful acts may be suppressed by one's 
deliberate efforts and firm resolution. However, there are evils prompted 
by one's base self even during his acts of worship and other good deeds, 
such as self-conceit, C Ujb) vanity, ( Kibr ), and show off ( Riya ’). These are 
such sins whose sinful nature is often not discoverable to a common 



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person, still they are very severe and firmly ingrained evil desires of one's 
base self. One is at times deceived by them, because he continues to think 
that his actions are right. It is extremely necessary that first and foremost 
this lower self must be suppressed. But this cannot be achieved by one on 
his own. It is necessary for one to search for a perfect spiritual master 
(Ash-shaikhul-kamil) , and hand himself over to him for guidance. He 
acts as the authentic guide and the only one to whom a seeker of Truth 
should turn in his quest and follow his advice. In turning to the spiritual 
master, the seeker is turning to Allah Almighty. The shaikh engages him 
in the spiritual struggle and endeavour [ mujahadah ] against the passions 
and tendencies of the lower self [‘uyub-un-nafs]. 

Shaikh Imam Ya'qub Karkhi dJl <u j~j says that in his young age 

he was a carpenter. He found laziness, and felt darkness in his inner self. 
So, he intended to keep fasts for a few days so that he may get rid of the 
laziness and darkness. Co-incidentally, one day, while he was fasting, he 
went up to Shaikh Imam Baha’uddin Naqshbandi. The Shaikh called for 
meals for his guests. He was also invited to partake of the meal, and the 
Shaikh said: "He is a very bad slave who is the slave of his base self that 
misleads him. It is better to partake of meal than to keep fast with evil 
desires of the base self." Shaikh Karkhi says that at that moment he 
realised that (by fasting) he was falling prey to self-complacence, 
self-conceit and pride, which the Shaikh Naqshbandi perceived. On that 
occasion, Shaikh Karkhi realised that a spiritual master's permission and 
guidance is needed to take up an optional act of worship, because the 
spiritual master is aware of the hidden tricks of the evil desires of the base 
self. If an optional act of worship will be accompanied by such motives, 
the will put a stop to it [for remedial purposes]. He asked Shaikh 
Naqshbandi: "If I cannot find a Shaikh who is called in Sufi terms as fani 
fillah and haqi billah, (the explanation is coming in the next 
paragraph.)what must I do?" He replied: "Recite istighfar abundantly and 
recite istighfar [seek Allah's pardon] twenty times regularly after every 
prayer, so that it works out to a hundred times reciting it five times a 
day." The Holy Prophet is reported to have said: "Sometimes I feel my 
heart disturbed, and I recite istighfar [seek Allah's pardon] a hundred 
times a day." 

The third and the highest level of suppression of the base self is that 




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by abundant dhikrullah [remembrance of Allah] and constant 
mujdhadah [spiritual struggle and endeavour against the evil passions] 
and riyadah [ascetic discipline], one's self ( nafs ) is so much cleansed and 
purified that the desires that tempts him to evil are totally eliminated. 
This is the special stage of wilayah [Divine friendship], which in Sufi 
Terminology is called fan! fillah and baqi billah. The Qur’an says 
regarding such people [addressing the Satan]: 


AA A oi 


'My servants are such that you have no power over them 
[15:42]' 


The following Tradition applies to the same category of wali: 


oA A A A 


'None of you can be a [perfect] believer unless his [base] desires 
of self follow my teachings. 1 


Towards the end of the Surah, the Holy Qur’an responds to the mala 
fide demand of the infidels that the Holy Prophet should let them 
know the exact date and time of the Day of Judgement. They are told 
that knowledge of the time and date is within Allah's own special 
prerogative. Allah's consummate wisdom did not pass the information to 
any angel or Prophet Therefore, the demand is futile. 

Alh amdulillah 
The Commentary on 
Surah An-NazPat 
Ends here